Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/747/15925
Birmingham Labour's 'grotesque chaos'
Ted, Birmingham Socialist Party
Birmingham city's ruling Labour Party has quickly raised the white flag to the Con-Dem government. The council organised public meetings to present its case for massive, highly damaging cuts.
In Erdington, the audience of around 150 were talked at for over an hour before we were invited to say which services were most or least important.
Labour's council leader, Sir Albert Bore, attacked me after I joined other audience members in demanding a 'needs budget'.
As the biggest local authority in Europe, Birmingham city council would be best placed to lead a rebellion against the government.
These points, and the others who argued against cuts, drew big rounds of applause, in contrast to the entire top table who received not a single clap in two hours!
In a grasping response Sir Albert recalled the 1980s Labour Party conference when then-leader Neil Kinnock denounced "grotesque chaos" at Liverpool city council.
Liverpool had indeed taken on the Tory government, and won £60 million extra funding for jobs, services and over 5,000 homes. How chaotic!
This approach, in the tradition of previous principled Labour councillors at Clay Cross and Poplar, is alien to the likes of Sir Albert who talk of the 'end of local government' and 'decommissioning entire services' in order to set a balanced budget. This is supposedly responsible!
Labour locally has concentrated on Birmingham being disproportionally hit. Sir Albert says he has written to Tory community-slasher Eric Pickles to win back £80 million. Even if Pickles concedes, this will barely make a dent in the £600 million of cuts.
Socialist Party members have also attended the other consultations, but more importantly we will be at the forefront in building resistance.
This includes building TUSC and encouraging local activists to stand as council candidates against the cuts.
In The Socialist 9 January 2013:
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